This Veterans Day, as I think about and reflect upon the sacrifices made, not just by the brave men and women that I served with, but also, by the long line of courageous and honorable men and women who have kept this country free from the start of our Independence, I can’t help but to think about exactly what we were all sacrificing for.
I think, that for some, it was for freedom and liberty; for the safety and well-being of their loved ones back home. And for some, it was to stop evil injustices; to let democracy and choice spread throughout the world. For others, it was for duty and Country. (And maybe, just one or two, thought that they’d have a better chance at getting chicks in a uniform??)
But, you see, for me… it was for the way that I was raised, for the way that I was brought up. It was for those values of Love, Family, Freedom, Faith, and Good Moral Character that were sometimes (and more often than my brothers), beat into my rear end with Dad’s homemade yard stick, that I chose and accepted to lay my life down for.
It was for this idea of a Free Nation, where we have the ability to pick and choose our dreams, our goals, and our futures. It was for YOU, and it was for ME… and it was for this idea of US, together, united, one people, under God, who have the strength and the courage to stand up to all things evil and the selflessness to give up their lives to uphold Freedom and Liberty.
You know, I find these same kinds of values, right here, in our small town. Honestly, you don’t have to look very far to find friends, family, or even strangers willing to help you out or who will gladly stand up for you. We are a small devoted town, a small collection of diversity, who all share at least one thing in common (no, not Wal-Mart), we are from the hills, the woods, the fields, the villages, the townships, and the communities of Guernsey County. We are all here together.
I often write about the social issues that plaque our society. And, I often poke fun at the trends and fads that seem important now, but will surely fade away over time (like twerking, dear God, I hope that twerking goes away very soon).
But seriously, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight one social issue and lasting trend about our small area that I hope will NEVER fade away; our sense of Community; our value in togetherness, our camaraderie, our hospitality, and our generosity.
It’s not hard to find a helping hand around here. Whether you’re broke down and stranded alongside some back road, moving in to a new house or apartment, doing home repairs, or in need of a little financial assistance; from benefits to support groups, we have always been there for each other. And, people, that is sacred in an ever-growing self-indulged world.
I can’t help but to point out the numerous places around town that are offering free meals, drinks, and other services to our veterans on Veterans Day (and, uhh… if anyone is doing massages or dishes, just let me know). I can’t begin to tell you how much that we all appreciate that kind of “thank you” from our community. It goes such a long way to see the support of our friends, neighbors, and fellow members of society. We thank you for that.
From food drives, to donating blankets, hats, and gloves to the needy, to helping the elderly carry groceries, holding open doors, and giving up our seats, we have been lucky enough to come from a close-knit area that still holds manners, respect, and courtesy in high regards.
And I can tell you, right now, that for as long as we hold these values paramount, we will continue to prosper as a society, as a community, and as a nation. We will continue to produce the caliber of men and women who volunteer to sacrifice their life, so that we can have another opportunity to wave at a friendly face in Riesbeck’s, to devour another hotdog under the pavilion at Orr’s, to huddle together on a carriage ride watching the Courthouse lights, or to buy another deploying buddy one last beer before he leaves at Downtown Arena, Deep Cut, or Steak and Ale.
Small towns like ours… that is what we sacrifice for.
Jacob Paul Patchen
Jacob Paul Patchen is a strong advocate for love, family, and laughter. He is his mother’s favorite child, his grandfather’s ornery double, and the one who offers the blessing before holiday dinner. With his background in poetry and his open heart, he sees the world in a transcendent light. With a deeper understanding of the importance of life’s “little things,” enriched by his time spent at war in Iraq, Jacob offers a philosophical, light-hearted, and insightfully energetic tone to his writing style.
Jacob is an award-winning writer and poet from Cambridge, Ohio. He was the recipient of the Beulah Brooks Brown Award in Poetry and was selected as the feature writer for Muskingum University’s creative writing magazine, First Circle. Jacob graduated from Muskingum University with a bachelor’s degree in English while focusing on creative writing, journalism, and speech communication. Since graduating, Jacob has written a script for a feature film, started a blog, thebackroadrevival.blogspot.com, (which has made him semi-famous in a small town), and is currently finishing up his debut book called, "Life Lessons from Grandpa and His Chicken Coop: A Playful Journey Through Some Serious Sh*t"
Growing up a few miles outside of a small village in the rolling hills of South East Ohio, Jacob spent most of his youth playing sports, spending time outdoors (i.e. climbing trees and hiding from babysitters), and finding his unique voice in writing. Feeling patriotic, he enlisted into the Marine Corps. Reserves during his senior year of high school. During his six year enlistment in the Infantry, he was deployed to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq in 2005. After his return from Iraq, with a better understanding of life and a renewed appreciation for opportunity, Jacob enrolled into Muskingum University to pursue a formal education in writing.
He is now living outside of Cambridge, Ohio where he balances part time work with full time play.